Ruiqi Ren, Violine |Madeleine Boïssou, Violoncello | Mimoe Todo, Fortepiano
Together in The Hague from China, the United States, and Japan, Trio Immensae brings a fresh perspective to classical and romantic repertoire on historical instruments. Ruiqi Ren, Madeleine Bouïssou, and Mimoe Todo have played together in a number of baroque ensembles over the years. Each of them has been specifically devoted to early music studies for the past five years. The three musicians came together during the lockdown to explore classical music with historical keyboards and gut strings. Since large ensemble playing has not been possible due to the pandemic, Trio Immensae has found exploring piano trio repertoire together extremely healing during these challenging times.
The women share a passion for boundless exploration unconditioned by previous modern training and enculturation. They enjoy discovering unknown music and aspire to shining a light on these lesser known works and get a fuller experience of music from Beethoven’s time. Trio Immensae believes that there is great value in introducing this music and sharing with audiences the excitement of hearing it for the first time.
Ruiqi Ren and Madeleine Boïssou studied at Juillard School and Royal Conservatory The Hague Historical Performance and baroque violin respectively baroque cello with Ryo Terakado, Cynthia Roberts, Rachel Podger respectively Lucia Swarts and Phoebe Carrai. Mimoe Todo studied in Nürnberg and The Hague harpsichord, historic keyboard instruments and Fortepiano with Wiebke Weidanz, Bart van Oort, Petra Somlai and Richard Eggar.
How did you find out about the competition “Beethoven in his time”? What convinced you to take part?
We heard of the competition by word of mouth and as we looked into it we were very excited about the repertoire list. We loved the idea of reading music by composers that were unknown to us. It has been an amazing experience to dive into the distinctive musical languages from each composer which brought us on a journey through discovery, innovation, and observation. After we found out that certain pieces were resonating with us as a group, we decided to enroll in this competition.
What was the trigger that brought you to playing with historical instruments?
We were attracted to the boundless approaches towards classical music while playing with the fortepiano in its various stages of development. The wide range of sound color invites our unique perspectives and encourages flexibility in our attitude with our approach to this repertoire. We came together to explore an obscure classical repertoire on historical instruments and found our thirst for musical expression quenched.
Was there something surprising while working on your competition repertoire?
The repertoire list for this competition was exciting and we decided to read as much music as we could to find the musical choices that resonated with us as a group. This was a wonderful chance to narrow into a specific time period and location surrounding Beethoven and we were surprised by how much music is out there that we had never been exposed to. As we dove into this repertoire we found that much of the music had similar elements yet still such a vast variety in tastes.
How did your preparation as an ensemble work out in the Covid year?
We have been lucky that throughout the pandemic our conservatory was given the exception to allow rehearsals of small groups to take place. Preparation for this competition has brought us a lot of relief during these trying times. Coming together to explore music that we’ve never heard before has given us such a fresh and positive attitude towards making music during a time when life as a performer is not as it once was.
Do you have a favourite piece in your repertoire? And if so, which one and why?
Our favorite piece is the Pixis Piano Trio Op. 95. We are fascinated by its theatrical elements that make his music bold, humorous, and unpredictable. Pixis’s music is “make-believe” in the way that it encourages the musicians to create a story. We enjoy making stories about the music we are playing together. We express certain images that come to mind and expand on them together. For example, part of the second movement of the Pixis gave us the image of being in a parade, surrounded by dancers and elephants and intricate colorful costumes. Pixis’s writing is also unexpected in the technical sense. His piano writing can be awkward for the player and demands different techniques than Beethoven. This quality keeps us involved throughout the whole story. It has been such a pleasure to uncover this music as a group and it gets us excited because this is only the beginning of our adventures into the unknown.